The Minister in Ecuador (Boding) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 28—11:37 p.m.]
2. Replying to Department’s telegram 21, December 18, 3 p.m.,2 Ecuadoran Minister for Foreign Affairs after reciting all points outlined in the above-mentioned cable states as follows:
“Taking into consideration the language in which the note which I answer is conceived, this Chancellery is compelled, with deep regret, to perform its duty, reminding Your Excellency that it considers procedure adopted by your Government as in absolute contradiction to the traditionally observed policy of the United States regarding questions of private right arising in foreign countries.
That policy has consistently denied the legality of all diplomatic claims, of all intervention of governments in matters of this nature: and [has been] accepted with enthusiasm by the American countries as a safeguard of the sovereignty of weak nations. Ecuador also always has invoked it in all cases in which it has judged it necessary to do so, and especially before your Excellency’s Government, which always has been its strongest supporter in innumerable documents and official declarations and in the valuable opinions of your most distinguished publicists.
In the matter of the claims of the Guayaquil and Quito Railway Company, this Department has clearly and succinctly stated to the Government of Your Excellency the reasons why the Ecuadorean Government did not and could not accept the diplomatic claim which then was attempted; and in this respect permit me to recall the contents of the notes directed to your predecessor, Mr. Charles S. Hartman, by this Chancellery under date[s] of December 28th, 1915;3 November 4th, 1916;4 January 10 , and 16th and February 28th. 1917.5
If then in a matter which dealt with a contract in which the Ecuadorean Nation was a part[y] it was not possible to consent that this principle of international right be attacked, how much less may it [Page 60] consent to it now in a matter of the legal relations between the Associations of Agriculturalists and the Mercantile Bank, which in no way-affects the Ecuadorean Government.
Therefore, Mr. Minister, the Ecuadorean Chancellery cannot do less than record the surprise with which it has noticed the desire to place the debt of the Association of Agriculturalists upon the ground of diplomatic claim, when the course of ordinary justice is open but which it seems the parties have not even intended to follow and when there has been as yet no denial of justice, the sole instance in which international law recognizes the legality of such claims.
The special considerations held by the Chancellery for the distinguished and most worthy representative of the United States, Mr. Bading, cause me, while maintaining in all its vigor the foregoing statement and abstaining from concretely answering the points mentioned in the note of Your Excellency, to have the honor of transcribing here a report which for the information of Your Excellency has been solicited from the Department of Finance in relation to the status of the questions between the Association of Agriculturists and the Mercantile Bank.
On account of the nature of the matter the Chancellery reserves to itself the right of [publishing] this note”.
Statement of Minister of Finance consists of compilation of laws upon which he bases the opinion that the association is a private institution.
Have informed the Minister of Foreign Affairs that the position of the Ecuadorean Government is not tenable and will not be acceptable to the Department.
Full text of note will be forwarded by first pouch.